Building Project – Introduction

UCAMA is seeking partners in the development of this new heritage museum including support from municipal, provincial, and federal governments; private and public foundations; corporations and individuals from the Ukrainian community and the community at large.

UCAMA is currently seeking donations to assist in the completion of this ambitious project. Please visit our donation page.

Project Summary

For a concise summary of the project, view our presentation boards.

Building Project – Our Past

As one of the largest ethnic groups on the Canadian prairies, Ukrainians have had a significant impact on the region’s social, cultural and economic development. In recognition of this legacy, in 1972 a group of eleven prominent professional and business members of the Ukrainian community in Edmonton, lead by Hryhory and Stefania Yopyk, dedicated themselves to the establishment of a facility for the preservation of the history and culture of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage. Through the efforts of these visionaries, the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta (UCAMA) was created. For over three decades, UCAMA has welcomed visitors from Edmonton and beyond to share in these achievements by exploring its colourful exhibits of historical artifacts, archival documents and photographs, and extensive library.

UCAMA’s Board of Directors determined through a feasibility study that the present building which houses its extensive collections is functionally obsolete. Therefore, in March of 2003 UCAMA acquired the Lodge Hotel and the Brighton Block on Jasper Avenue (both designated as Municipal Historic Resources by the City of Edmonton) to serve as a prominent new home for the museum and its collections.

Our new location is linked with the history of Ukrainians in Edmonton. Many Ukrainian businesses and cultural institutions operated in close proximity to our future home from the beginning of the 20th century. For example, Paul Rudyk, a successful Ukrainian pioneer businessman and community activist, was the owner of the Rudyk Block on Jasper Avenue at 97 Street. The first Ukrainian reading club in Edmonton was opened nearby in the home of John Kiliar in 1901. The Ukrainian Bookstore has always been in this neighbourhood. When coming to Edmonton on business, many Ukrainian pioneer farmers saved money by staying overnight under the sky where the MacDonald Hotel now stands, warming themselves by open fires on cold winter nights.

Building Project – Our Present

UCAMA’s goal is to rehabilitate and where practical restore portions of the Lodge Hotel and the Brighton Block in order to create a facility which will house exhibition galleries; an archive and library resource area; collection storage areas; educational, meeting and special programming areas and more…. all open to the community at large.

David Murray Architect completed an assessment and recording of the structural and decorative history of the building. This revealed the opulence of the original dining room, hidden stairwells, forgotten skylights, and the façade of the original hotel. An unexpected discovery of artifacts in the attic provided a glimpse into the lives of hotel guests. This includes turn-of-the-century clothing, a 19th-century ledger, numerous bottles and other items.

When completed, the new museum will preserve and interpret the heritage of the Ukrainian community for all Albertans. With over 50,000 annual visitors ultimately expected, the project will have a positive economic impact on the rejuvenation of the historic Downtown East area. Cultural tourism is seen as a link between heritage and economic stimulation. In addition, museums reinforce a sense of place, fundamental to identity and community building, which translates into quality of life and the development of a city’s urban fabric. UCAMA will focus on the Ukrainian contribution to the City of Edmonton.

Our new museum is located in the “Quarters Downtown” area of Edmonton. The City of Edmonton is leading the redevelopment of The Quarters Downtown. Council has approved the investment of $56 million in infrastructure and public amenities to attract further investment and encourage growth in this part of downtown. Over $200 million in additional investment from the private sector is currently planned for the area, including a hotel and an apartment tower near Jasper Avenue. Together, these investments will help this historic centre of our City’s economic development reach its full potential. Our building, originally called the Pendennis Hotel, is in the “Heritage Quarter” of Quarters Downtown. This quarter is named for the location of Edmonton’s original downtown. It recognizes the importance of preserving buildings having historic significance, with any new development complementing the historic surroundings. Click here for more information on the Quarters Downtown. A map of the historical buildings in the Quarters Downtown is available here.

Community Benefits

In its new facility, the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta (UCAMA), plans to make a major impact on the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta. Its location will be part of the Downtown East revitalization plan in the city. Through its new interpretive exhibits and programs, UCAMA will also draw increased numbers of visitors to the city. This will result in more visitors with related service and accommodation needs, affecting all business sectors. A new facility will ultimately benefit the educational, cultural, arts, heritage and tourism sectors in Edmonton. While downtown already boasts the Winspear concert hall, the Citadel Theatre, the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Stanley Milner Library, it does not yet have a museum. Our new museum will fill that void.

BENEFITS AT A GLANCE

  • The new facility will provide easy public access to UCAMA’s extensive ethnographic and archival collections
  • Edmonton firm HIP Architects and David Murray Architect are designing the new facility. Other major HIP projects include the new CBC Studios, The World Trade Centre and Sir Winston Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton.
  • It will take up to 36 months to complete the UCAMA project, with a total of $21 million spent in the local market.
  • The new facility will staff an estimated seven full and part time staff.
  • It is estimated UCAMA will spend approximately $370,000 in annual operational expenses of the facility that will go directly into the local economy.
  • It is estimated the new facility is expected to attract over 50,000 visitors per year.
  • Over 26,000 sq. feet will be available in the new facility that will include space for educational purposes, traveling exhibits and related public programs.